On the 9th April I hosted my second #ContentClubUK – recently picked out at #5 in a list of the best Twitter chats for digital marketers!
For those that aren’t familiar, it’s pretty simple – a different host and topic each week; three questions, and answers from brilliant marketers, copywriters, and designers; both freelance and otherwise.
Because of the timing (end of Q1, 2019), I thought it’d be a good time to have a mini strategy review – see how people are getting on so far this year, what new content marketing ideas they’ve tried, and how they might prepare for potential change and uncertainty in their business.
There were some excellent answers and real pro tips, so read on!
Q1. It’s April (APRIL!) already. What new content and marketing ideas have you tried so far this year (for yourself or clients)?
What’s worked, and what hasn’t?
Whilst it feels safer to stick to what you know and do already, trying out a new content or marketing tactic can really pay off.
“He who dares Rodney, he who dares…”
A big part of this is having the confidence to get out of your comfort zone:
Trying out new content formats, pushing yourself into attending and taking part in events, finding new ways to present your products, services and pricing – sometimes the fear of failure can stop you. It shouldn’t!
A1b: For me, I'm in the middle of trying lots of things to grow my pipeline - changing my pricing options, packaging up content into something more tangible, speaking at an event, writing a little giveaway book, re-designing my site to generate leads... #ContentClubUK— Alice Hollis (@AliceKHollis) 9 April 2019
A1: I've added a website review offer - 'Copy Health Check' as a low investment way for people to get help with web copy. It's a nice way to see if we're a good fit before working together. It's my first 'productised service' so we'll see how it goes!#ContentClubUK— Louise Shanahan (@LouiseShanahan_) 9 April 2019
For content strategy and ideas, you could try leveraging new channels and doing some social listening:
A1. This year, I’ve been leveraging social media and Quora for the content strategy part and finding them very effective for both my work as well clients. Tried an infographic for my blog as well but didn’t measure how well it did.— Masooma // Content Writer (@inkandcopy) 9 April 2019
P.S. I can’t believe it's April! #ContentClubUK
The most important thing is to have the self-awareness to go back and assess what’s worked, and what hasn’t. The focus should ultimately come back to your clients:
Sometimes, the simplest ideas and changes make the most difference.
You can’t make these changes unless you allow yourself the time to think.
Q2. There’s a lot of uncertainty at the moment, politically and economically (in the UK at least).
How do you prepare your business for changing circumstances outside of your control?
Bonus points if you answer without using the “B” word.
Fully aware that this question could have descended into a political Twitter shitstorm, I asked it nonetheless.
Not because of Brexit specifically, but because a lot of freelancers take part in #ContentClubUK.
Whatever the connotations or assumptions surrounding the word freelancer, we’re business owners, and potentially vulnerable if things take a turn for the worse.
Nobody mentioned the word, and there were some great answers:
A2. I never make plans as plans are made to be broken. Always play it by ear, take each week as it comes. Having said that, I do make an effort to take training in slightly different disciplines to broaden my skillset and see if there’s owt else I’d like to do. #ContentClubUK— Craig Wright - Tech Writer (@straygoat) 9 April 2019
A2 In a previous life I spent 5 years in emergency planning and business continuity (mixes the fascinating and the mind-numbing!). The answer always boiled down to flexibility and not having too many eggs in one basket (1/2) #ContentClubUK— Megan Rose Freelance Copywriter (@MegRFreelance) 9 April 2019
- Save money / have a rainy day fund.
- Avoid relying on one large client / account for the majority of your work.
- Have multiple sources for finding new clients.
- Consider new skills and diversification to give you extra flexibility.
- Trust in what you do, and focus on what you can control.
Q3. We all like to be busy, even if we complain about it sometimes.
It’s likely that any business will have quieter periods. How does your approach to marketing and generating new enquiries change when things are quiet?
As a natural follow-on to the last question, I thought it’d be interesting to see how our Content Clubbers ramp things up if they (or their clients), have a quiet patch.
The idea of trying new things and not being afraid to fail came up again:
A3: Whenever it’s quiet, I get desperate & creative (a deadly combo).— Jake Keane ✏️💻🎮📚 (@Jakebrap) 9 April 2019
Love trying out new marketing tactics & not afraid to fall flat on my face & fail. It’s why I don’t mind trying the dumb stuff. Especially if I need it.
Quiet time = Experiment time 😍😍😍😍#ContentClubUK
Although too modest, Gareth made a great point – it’s all about generating interest. If you know something works, do it:
To reinforce an earlier point, when things get quiet, it could be the perfect time to reflect. Evaluate your marketing and restrategise:
A3: I learned from a previous #ContentClubUK that quiet time is perfect for revamping websites and updating content, which has helped me reevaluate and focus on finding clients I want.— Sterling Schuyler (@TheAsianCraving) 9 April 2019
So I guess my approach to marketing is to evaluate and re-strategize!
A3. I use quiet times to revamp, learn new things and take some time to reflect. I would hate to be busy 100%, as that would be just like working for 'the man'. The reflection times are very useful to move things forward and make changes #ContentClubUK https://t.co/O7wdOyCFj6— Hello I'm Nik Design (@HelloNikDesign) 9 April 2019
And finally, the obvious thing to do is put yourself out there. Attend some networking events and work on existing relationships.
Keeping in touch with existing and previous clients is always a good use of your time:
And now, for the polls!
As a little bonus feature, I’d intended to run some pollls during the chat. I completely forgot.
I did get round to it afterwards though, so here they are:
I’d sum up the results like this:
- Of the freelancers that answered, 94% are either doing the same or better than they were in 2018 (either just as busy and earning the same, or busier and earning more).
- Keep calm and carry on, but it’s only natural to be concerned about what the future might hold. If in doubt, see answers to Question 2!
- Make time to think. Try new marketing ideas. Focus on what works, and do more of it. Never stop learning and always be flexible towards new skills and opportunities.
I want to join #ContentClubUK!
As you’ll see from the highlights (and I could have picked many more), this is a Twitter chat that’s not to be missed.
I’ve taken away something useful every week, and I think you would too. So here’s another reminder – it happens on a Tuesday, at 11am (BST). Follow the hashtag, and get involved.
Oh, and bring biscuits.